Ain’t no Geek off the Street

Welcome, all my followers and fellow bloggers! I hope you have not missed my blogs too much over the past seven days.

This week I will be speaking on the subject of presenting to business people. What does presenting to business people imply? You guessed it, public speaking. Yes, all you young and aspiring geeks will have to present at some point in your career but do not freak out too much. YOU CAN DO IT and DO IT WELL. Just take some time to listen to a snippet of my story and observe some cold hard facts.

Below you can see a graph describing the social fear of adolescents:

Takeaways? Public speaking (presenting) is number two on the list. Deal with it. Let’s become the best geekiest presenter since Alan from the Hangover.

My personal experience with presenting and public speaking has a bit of twist to it. Presenting has not always been a strong suit for me. Look at what I am involved in on-campus, it may not seem that way but it is true. I struggled with presenting and public speaking all the way through my senior year of high school. I do not claim to be an expert now but I do feel comfortable enough to speak publicly and to be a vocal leader. Before my junior year of college, I had always had a fear of leading vocally.

Why was I so afraid of public speaking and being a vocal leader? Well, I have a speech impediment. Inevitably my speech impediment is my greatest encumbrance. Growing up, define it however you want to, I was bullied, teased, and harassed because of my speech impediment. I was afraid to have a conversation with someone, you really think I wanted to speak publicly or give a presentation? HECK to the no.

Thankfully there is a speech therapy and I took full advantage of having a speech therapist for three years. Why just three years, well because my speech therapist retired when I was in fourth grade. I tried out a different speech therapist but she was terrible and my speech actually got worse. Long story short, I have not been to speech therapy since I was 10 and I turned out okay.

The fact of the day, speech impediments never go away. Individuals with speech impediments have to learn techniques to best fit to compensate their deficiency.

I have found a way to overcome most of my setbacks through practice, preparation, and power poses. Trust me, I still have not fully overcome my speech impediment, nor will I ever fully but I continually pushing to improve.

What’s my point? You geeks can overcome a fear of presenting too. Or, if you are just bad at presenting, you can get much better!

Now, to all you geeks who refuse to present or struggle with presenting, you have heard my story. It is time to get you all on board and ready to take on your next public speaking endeavor.

Thankfully my professor, Deloy Cole, has provided my Managing Technical People class with an awesome text called The Geek Leader’s Handbook by Paul Glen and Maria McManus. One chapter out of The Geek Leader’s Handbook is called, “A GEEK’S GUIDE TO PRESENTING TO BUSINESS PEOPLE,” which I will reference greatly from here on out.

The Geek Leader’s Handbook breaks down presenting into a five-step process:

  1. Clarify your goal
  2. Get into their heads
  3. Craft a transformation (WRITE IT)
  4. Present, connect and resonate
  5. Conclude with a call to action

All of you nerds who know too much for your own good, LISTEN UP. Here are 5 tips for making information easy to understand and remember:

  1. Discover how your audience like to be communicated with
  2. Don’t write a reference guide
  3. Use slides as headlines
  4. Verbs are better than nouns
  5. Don’t use slides as handouts

OKAY, TOOL FOR EMOTION. Buckle up my nerd followers because we are about to get a little emotional!

  1. USE FACTS
  2. USE INSIGHTS
  3. USE STORIES (Be creative)

An encompassing video of two geeks presenting to business people is posted below. Please take the time to watch and synthesize what the two geeks did and did not do well.

Remember if you struggle with presenting or have a fear of public speaking, you can overcome it! Do your research, practice, and do some occasional power poses and I can guarantee you exponential growth. Stay patient and trust the process, my fellow followers and bloggers.

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